Many enjoyable nature outings have sent people home with a rather unpleasant souvenir. Some 10 to 50 million people in the United States are affected by poison ivy each year. In fact, this poisonous plant constitutes the single most common cause of allergic reactions.The plant called poison ivy is one that triggers an allergic reaction in most people. It contains oil called urushiol which is known to cause an allergic reaction in almost four-fifths of the people who come in contact with it.
Urushiol is present in practically every part of the poison ivy plant including its leaves, flowers, roots and stems. The visible signs of a reaction are not manifested immediately after contact with the plant and could take as long as seventy two hours to eventually show up. The common symptoms of a reaction to urushiol include itchiness, burning and redness all over the skin surface.
The skin breaks out into red blisters which can cause a great degree of pain and discomfort to those suffering from it. The normal course of poison ivy can range anywhere between seven to twenty one days.
Poison ivy normally does not require urgent medical attention and can easily be treated at home, with the help of several natural home remedies. Most of these natural remedies are topical treatments that need to be applied directly on the skin in order to gain much needed relief.
White vinegar’s acid content can help prevent a poison ivy rash from spreading. A cold vinegar compress will dry out the rash as well as reduce itching.Mix one-half cup of white vinegar with one and one-half cups of water. Chill the solution in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.Moisten a cloth in the solution and press it onto the affected skin area for two minutes. Wait a few minutes and then repeat.Do this for several minutes once daily for a week or two.
Calamine is readily available in a lotion form that can be applied locally to the skin surface. This lotion is easily available at any local medical store. Use this lotion liberally over the affected skin. In cases where the skin is full of blisters, calamine is a very beneficial in providing the necessary relief.
Calamine has a soothing and drying action on these blisters, causing them to dry up much faster than they would on a normal basis. Calamine lotion should also be applied every night before going to bed so as to allow it to soak into the skin throughout the night. This lotion is mild on the inflamed skin and can be used as often as required.
Aloe vera is an excellent remedy for mild and severe cases of poison ivy rash. The gel can be used from a freshly cut aloe vera leaf or from a bottle of packaged gel. This gel is to be applied all over the skin and left on for a few hours so as to allow it to soak into the skin. Aloe vera is a powerful antiseptic that is completely natural and free from any side effects.
This gel also helps in preventing the formation of blisters on the skin, if used in the initial stages of poison ivy rash. Aloe vera does a great deal of good in preventing burning and itching of the skin and is a very good moisturizer too.
Baking soda is very useful in treating cases of poison ivy rashes. Baking soda can be applied to the skin in the form of a paste by mixing it with a small amount of water. Baking soda helps to dry out the blisters that might have formed on the skin.
It also has a soothing effect on the skin and helps alleviate the agonising symptoms of scratchiness and burning. Baking soda should be applied at least thrice every day and washed off half an hour after its application.
A very common household remedy for cases of poison ivy rash is colloidal oatmeal, which is used locally on the body. This oatmeal is ground to a fine powder or used in its original state as a cure for poison ivy rash. Add a sufficient amount of colloidal oatmeal to warm water that has been put into a bathtub. Mix it well before using it for bathing.
Make sure to sit in this bath tub for at least half an hour, during which you must gently rub your skin with the oatmeal present in the water. Colloidal oatmeal has a soothing effect on the redness and itchiness that is present on the skin. It promotes a speedy recovery from this condition.
Honey has amazing benefits when it comes to the treatment of any kind of skin condition. Its benefits have been seen in numerous cases of poison ivy rash as well. Honey must be applied as a topical lotion on the skin, on a regular basis. Honey is a powerful antiseptic and antifungal agent and has been recommended in the treatment of poison ivy rash, by many skin experts around the world.
Apply a liberal amount of honey to the skin and leave it in place for about half an hour before washing it off with water. Honey can also be used in the bath water of those suffering from this skin condition. It can also be used in conjunction with other remedies such as colloidal oatmeal or baking soda.
Salt is another very commonly used remedy for treating poison ivy rashes. You are advised to use common salt only after adding a little water to it. Using salt in its dry state can do more harm than good as the crystals of salt can cause severe burning on the skin surface due to friction between the salt and the skin.
Add water to a sufficient quantity of salt and mix these two ingredients well, till the salt dissolves completely in the water. This solution of salt in water can then be used to wash the skin, at regular intervals of time. Salt should not be used if your skin has blisters or cuts as this could aggravate the burning and pain.
Witch hazel is held in high esteem by many skin experts due to its wonderful healing effect on the skin. In cases of severe and mild poison ivy rash, witch hazel can be gently rubbed into the skin. Witch hazel helps to soothe the soreness of the skin and also helps to dry up the blisters that might have formed on the skin.
Witch hazel also moisturises the skin and thus reduces the symptom of itching that is commonly associated with this complaint. Witch hazel lotion needs to be applied at least three to four times every day in order to see improvement.